Nigel's Tall Order

Nigel Reo-Coker has set himself the tall order of grabbing TEN goals this season.

"I am crying out for a goal, I desperately need one to break my duck," he says.

"Hopefully I will reach double figures this season - it is a target I have set myself and I believe I can achieve it."

He nearly went one step of the way towards getting there at Derby only to be foiled by a partial save from their keeper and then a clearance off the line, and he says:

"It was a good block by the goalkeeper and on any other day that could have been in; so far this season with the really good chances I have had I could have had six goals.

"But you have to set yourself targets and sometimes you have to set ones that you might feel are slightly unrealistic.

"People might see it that way for me - I don't even see myself as a prolific goal scoring midfielder but rather as an all round midfield player - but you never know what can happen."

Nigel is a doubt for the weekend and reveals:

"I am not too sure if I will be playing on Saturday as I am struggling with a little niggle by my knee from yesterday's game; it is touch and go so we will have to wait and see.

"I was very much looking forward to that game because I want to play in every single game for West ham but I am going to go home and see how it is tomorrow morning."

The target is to face Paul Ince, to whom he has been compared, and he adds:

"Paul Ince is a legend, there is no two ways about it; he has had a successful career and he is still going at his age right now - he is someone that young people like myself can still look up to.

"You can take so many attributes from his game and you just have to respect him."

If he is out, it could open the door for Steve Lomas to return to the starting line-up, but, even though both players operate in a similar way and rarely play together, he says:

"We are not really rivals, we are team mates; we all help each other because at the end of the day it is a competitive industry and a competitive game.

"We wish well for each other and we are starting to get this bond, as a team, of togetherness so if one person doesn't come in he will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that the person coming in is good enough to.

"If you have a team that has a tremendous spirit then the sky is the limit - that is such a big factor.

"If you have 11 players that are willing to work for each other that, goes a long way."

Admitting his disappointment at not picking up three points at Derby, he says:

"That is part and parcel of the game and nothing is ever guaranteed but you take heart from the performances and things can only get better.

"I think we are in a lot better situation this year than we were last year and we need to get a good run going of five or six games, and that could happen any time from now to Christmas - or even into the last couple of months of the season.

"I believe that sooner rather than later we will get that run going, though, and that will take us up the league. "It is such a hard, competitive league and it is always going to be difficult."

Nigel dismisses the criticism that the Hammers have not won three games this season that they have taken the lead in and explains:

"I feel it is a bit unfair that people are already starting to pick out negatives and pointing the finger about what is wrong in the team so far.

"It is still very early in the season and there are a lot of positives people can take from the way we are playing this season compared to how we were playing last season."

As for his own form, he says:

"I play to the best of my ability and let others judge me - I have set my standards and have to keep up to them now.

"I am happy but there is a lot more that people can expect from Nigel Reo-Coker - hopefully I will continue to a certain level."